It’s a battle of two Kiwis across the water in Australia, as Auckland-born Sydney resident Robert Whittaker takes on Nigerian-New Zealander Israel Adesanya.
Robert ‘The Reaper’ Whittaker steps back into the Octagon for the first time in 16 months this weekend, following an emergency double surgery on an abdominal hernia in the intestine and a twisted and collapsed bowel. The middleweight champion’s physical recovery and capabilities will be put to the ultimate test against the undefeated Israel ‘The Last Stylebender’ Adesanya, who’s looking to ascend to the ranks of undisputed UFC kingpins this at the Marvel Stadium.
Fight to finish inside the distance
Whittaker’s last bout was his thrilling split decision victory over Yoel Romero back in June of last year, reinforcing his supremacy over the Cuban in their rematch and stretching the Reaper’s winning streak to nine fights. Despite his inactivity, the 28-year-old starts as the odds-on favourite with the best betting sites, thanks to his impressive array of victories over a number of top middleweights. Whittaker is an aggressive striker capable of landing big shots, as well as taking them, while his elite wrestling background means he’s comfortable on the ground too.
Robert Whittaker to win by KO or TKO
The Reaper may need to take this fight to the canvas, thanks to his opponent’s height and reach advantage, and superb striking armoury that draws comparisons to the UFC’s greatest ever striker, Jon Jones. Adesanya is an accomplished boxer and kickboxer, with an excellent engine that means he can apply constant pressure made even more dangerous by his pinpoint accuracy. Whittaker has incredible durability, but that could be put to the test like never before against the Last Stylebender.
Robert Whittaker to win by submission
The chink in undefeated Adesanya’s armour is his ground game, and that could be the key to this fight. The Lagos-born 30-year-old will want to keep the contest on the feet, while Whittaker may look for an early takedown to assert his dominance. The Reaper has brutal ground and pound in top position, and if he can damage Adesanya early, that could impair the interim champ’s striking capabilities. On the other hand, the Last Stylebender will have the chance to hurt Whittaker on his way into the clinch or a takedown attempt, and over five rounds, Adesanya could have a number of opportunities for what would be a 14th knockout in 18 fights.
Israel Adesanya to win by KO or TKO
Israel Adesanya to win the fight
Robert Whittaker is a ferocious fighter who boasts a very strong fight IQ and excellent technical skills. He’s the betting favourite to win this contest and reassert his dominance over the middleweight division, but Israel Adesayna is the rising star in the 185-pound ranks. The Last Stylebender more than matches his opponent in most areas, and if he can keep the fight off the ground, he should be able to control the distance and pick off Whittaker from range. The Reaper will have a big say in this fight, but he’s been TKO’d before in the UFC, by Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson, and the same outcome could be on the cards this weekend.
John Abrams is a passionate sports fanatic who follows NBA, NFL, NHL, NCAAF, NCAAB and Formula 1. A former sports trader, John has an unquestioned thirst for sports knowledge and often fills his time playing fantasy or placing wagers online.
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